Northumberland Yesterday and To-day
Jean F. Terry

Part 4 out of 4

Spindlestone, a high crag not far from Bamburgh, and Bamburgh Castle
itself, form the scene of this well-known legend. The fair Princess
Margaret, daughter of the King of Bamburgh was turned into a "laidly
worm" (loathly or loathsome serpent) by her wicked stepmother, who was
jealous of the lovely maid. The whole district was in terror of this
dreadful monster, which desolated the country-side in its search for

"For seven miles east and seven miles west
And seven miles north and south,
No blade of grass or corn would grow,
So deadly was her mouth.

The milk of seven streakit cows
It was her cost to kepe,
They brought her dayly, whyche she drank
Before she wente to slepe."

This offering proved successful in pacifying the creature, and it
remained in the cave at Spindleston, coming out daily to drink its fill
from the trough prepared for it. But the fear of it in no wise
diminished, and

"Word went east, and word went west,
And word is gone over the sea,
That a laidly worm in Spindleston Heugh
Would ruin the North Countree."

The news in due course comes to the ears of Princess Margaret's only
brother, the Childe Wynde, who is away seeking fame and fortune abroad.
In fear for his lovely sister, he calls together his "merry men all,"
and they set to work to build a ship

"With masts of the rowan-tree,"

a sure defence against the spells of witchcraft; and hoisting their
silken sails they hasten homeward.

"... ... The wind with speed
Blew them along the deep.
The sea was calm, the weather clear,
When they approached nigher;
King Ida's castle well they knew,
And the banks of Bamburghshire."

The wicked queen saw the little bark coming near, and knew that her
guilt was about to meet its reward. In haste she tried to wreck the
vessel, but the rowan-tree masts made her spells of no avail. Then she
bade her servants go to the beach and oppose the landing of the Childe
and his crew; but the servants were beaten back, and the young knight
and his men landed in Budle Bay. The worm came fiercely to the attack,
as the Childe Wynde advanced against it; but on meeting him, and feeling
the touch of his "berry-brown sword," it besought him to do it no harm.

"'O quit thy sword, unbend thy brow,
And give me kisses three;
For though I be a laidly worm
No harm I'll do to thee.

O quit thy sword, unbend thy brow,
And give me kisses three;
If I'm not won ere the sun goes down
Won shall I never be.'

He quitted his sword, and smoothed his brow,
And gave her kisses three;
She crept intill the hole a worm,
And came out a fayre ladie."

The knight clasped his lovely sister in his arms, and, casting around
her his crimson cloak, led her back to her home, where the trembling
queen awaited them. Her doom was spoken by the Childe Wynde--

"Woe be to thee, thou wicked witch;
An ill death mayst thou dee!
As thou hast likened my sister dear,
So likened shalt thou be"

and he turned her into the likeness of an ugly toad, in which hateful
shape she remained to her dying day, wandering around the castle and the
green fields, an object of hatred to all who saw her. The
"Spindlestone," a tall crag on which the young knight hung his bridle,
when he went further on to seek the worm in the "heugh," is still to be
seen, but the huge trough from which the worm was said to drink has been

There are two legends somewhat similar to each other which are told of a
company held in the spell of a magic sleep, to be awakened by certain
devices, in which the blowing of a horn and the drawing of a sword are
prominent. One is the story of "Sir Guy the Seeker," and is told of
Dunstanborough Castle. Sir Guy sought refuge in the Castle from a storm;
and while within the walls a spectre form with flaming hair addressed

"Sir knight, Sir knight, if your heart be right,
And your nerves be firm and true,"

(fancy "nerves" in a ballad!)--

"Sir knight, Sir knight, a beauty bright
In durance waits for you."

The ballad, written by M.G. Lewis, now describes in a painfully
commonplace manner the knight's further adventures. He and his guide
wandered round and round and high and low in the maze of chambers within
the castle, until at last a door of brass, whose bolt was a venomous
snake, gave them entrance to a gloomy hall, draped in black, which the
"hundred lights" failed to brighten. In the hall a hundred knights of
"marble white" lay sleeping by their steeds of "marble black as the
raven's back." At the end of the hall, guarded by two huge skeleton
forms, the imprisoned lady was seen in tears within a crystal tomb. One
skeleton held in his bony fingers a horn, the other a "falchion bright,"
and the knight was told to choose between them, and the fate of himself
and the lady would depend upon his choice. Sir Guy, after long
hesitation, blew a shrill blast upon the horn; at the sound the hundred
steeds stamped their hoofs, the hundred knights sprang up, and the
unlucky knight fell down senseless, with his ghastly guide's words
ringing in his ears--

"Shame on the coward who sounded a horn
When he might have unsheathed a sword!"

In the morning, the unfortunate Sir Guy awoke to find himself lying
amongst the ruins, and forthwith began his ceaseless and unavailing
search for the lady he had failed to rescue.

The legend similar to this in many respects is that of King Arthur and
his court at Sewingshields, to which allusion has already been made in
the chapter on the Roman Wall. I cannot do better than give this in the
words of Mr. Hodgson, who tells the story in his History of
Northumberland. "Immemorial tradition has asserted that King Arthur,
his queen Guenever, his court of lords and ladies, and his hounds were
enchanted in some cave of the crags, or in a hall below the castle of
Sewingshields, and would continue entranced there until someone should
first blow a bugle-horn that lay on a table near the entrance of the
hall, and then with the 'sword of the stone' (was this Excalibur?) cut a
garter, also placed there beside it. But none had ever heard where the
entrance to this enchanted hall was, till the farmer at Sewingshields,
about fifty years since, was sitting knitting on the ruins of the
castle, and his clew fell, and ran downwards through a rush of briars
and nettles, as he supposed, into a subterraneous passage. Full in the
faith that the entrance to King Arthur's hall had now been discovered,
he cleared the briary portal of its weeds and rubbish, and entering a
vaulted passage, followed in his darkling way the thread of his clew.
The floor was infested with toads and lizards; and the dark wings of
bats, disturbed by his unhallowed intrusion, flitted fearfully around
him. At length his sinking courage was strengthened by a dim, distant
light, which as he advanced grew gradually brighter, till all at once he
entered a vast and vaulted hall, in the centre of which a fire without
fuel, from a broad crevice in the floor blazed with a high and lambent
flame, that showed all the carved walls and fretted roof, and the
monarch and his queen and court reposing around, in a theatre of thrones
and costly couches. On the floor beyond the fire lay the faithful and
deep-toned pack of thirty couple of hounds; and on a table before it the
spell-dissolving horn, sword, and garter. The shepherd reverently, but
firmly, grasped the sword, and as he drew it leisurely from its rusty
scabbard, the eyes of the monarch and his courtiers began to open, and
they rose till they sat upright. He cut the garter; and as the sword was
being slowly sheathed the spell assumed its ancient power, and they all
gradually sank to rest; but not before the monarch had lifted up his
eyes and hands, and exclaimed--

"O woe betide that evil day
On which this witless wight was born,
Who drew the sword, the garter cut.
But never blew the bugle horn!"

Terror brought on loss of memory, and the shepherd was unable to give
any correct account of his adventure, or to find again the entrance to
the enchanted hall.

Another legend is connected with Tynemouth. Just above the short sands
was a cave known as Jingling Geordie's Hole; the "Geordie" is evidently
a late interpolation, for earlier mention of the cave gives it as the
Jingling Man's Hole. No one knows how it came by its name; tradition
says that it was the entrance to a subterranean passage leading from the
Priory beneath the Tyne to Jarrow. In this cave it was said that a
treasure of a fabulous amount was concealed, and the tale of this hoard
fired a boy named Walter to seek it out, when he heard the tale from his
mother. On his attaining to knighthood, he resolved to make the finding
of the treasure his particular "quest," and arming himself, he
adventured forth on the Eve of St. John. Making his way fearlessly down
into the cave, undaunted by spectre or dragon, as they attempted to
dispute his passage, he arrived at a gloomy gateway, where hung a bugle,
fastened by a golden cord. Boldly he placed the bugle to his lips, and
blew three loud blasts. To his amazement, at the sound the doors rolled
back, displaying a vast and brightly-lit hall, whose roof was supported
on pillars of jasper and crystal; the glow from lamps of gold shone
softly down on gold and gems, which were heaped upon the floor of this
magic chamber, and the treasure became the rich reward of the dauntless

"Gold heaped upon gold, and emeralds green,
And diamonds and rubies, and sapphires untold,
Rewarded the courage of Walter the Bold."

The fortunate youth became a very great personage, indeed, as by means
of his great riches he was "lord of a hundred castles" and wide domains.

Of a very different character is the story of the Hermit of Warkworth.
It is unfortunate that this, the most tragic and moving of all
Northumbrian tales, should be most widely known by means of the prosy
imitation ballad by Dr. Percy, whose ability as a poet did by no means
equal his zeal as a collector of ballads. The hero of the sorrowful tale
is said to have been a Bertram of Bothal, who loved fair Isabel,
daughter of the lord of Widdrington. Bertram was a knight in Percy's
train, and at a great feast made by the lord of Alnwick the fair maiden
and her father were amongst the guests. As the minstrels chanted the
praises of their lord, and sang of the valiant deeds by which his noble
house had won renown, the heart of Isabel thrilled at the thought of her
true knight rivalling those deeds of fame. Summoning one of her
attendant maidens, she sent her to Bertram, bearing a helmet of steel
with crest of gold. With the helmet the maiden gave her mistress'
message, that she would yield to her knight's pleadings and become his
bride, as soon as he had proved himself a valiant and worthy wearer of
the golden-crested helm. Reverently Bertram accepted the commands of
his lady, and vowed to prove his devotion wherever hard blows were to be
given and danger to be found. The lord of Alnwick straightway arranged
for an expedition on to Scottish land, in requital of old scores, and
assembled together a goodly company to ride against the Scots. Earl
Douglas and his men opposed them, and blows were dealt thick and fast on
both sides. Bertram was sorely wounded, after showing wondrous prowess
in the fight; but being rescued by Percy, was borne to the castle of
Wark upon the Tweed, to recover from his wounds in safety. Isabel's aged
father had seen the young knight's valour, and promised that the maiden
herself should tend his hurts and care for him until he recovered. Day
after day passed, however, and still she came not. At last the knight,
scarcely able to take the saddle, rode back to Widdrington, tended by
his gallant young brother, to satisfy himself of what had become of his
lady. They reached Widdrington tower to find it all in darkness; and
after repeated knockings the aged nurse came to the gateway and demanded
the name of those who so insistently clamoured at the door. Bertram
enquired for the lady Isabel; and then, indeed, all was dismay. The
nurse, trembling with fear, told the two youths that her mistress had
set out immediately on hearing of her lover's plight, reproaching
herself for having led him to adventure his life so rashly, and it was
now six days since she had gone. Weary and weak, Bertram rested the
night at the castle, and then set out on his search for his lost lady.
That they might the sooner search the country round, he and his brother,
who loved him dearly, took different directions, one going eastward, and
the other north. They put on various disguises as they went, Bertram
appearing now in the guise of a holy Palmer, now as a wandering
minstrel As he was sitting, despondent and well-nigh despairing,
beneath a hawthorn tree, an aged monk came by, and on seeing the
supposed minstrel's face of sorrow, said to him,

"All minstrels yet that e'er I saw
Are full of game and glee,
But thou art sad and woe-begone;
I marvel whence it be."

Bertram replied that he served an aged lord whose only child had been
stolen away, and that he would know no happiness until he had found her.
The pilgrim comforted him and bade him hope, telling him that

"Behind yon hills so steep and high,
Down in a lonely glen,
There stands a castle fair and strong,
Far from the abode of men."

Saying that he had heard a lady's voice lamenting in this lonely tower,
he passed on, giving Bertram the hope that now at last his quest was
ended. He made his way to that strong castle, and with his music
prevailed upon the porter to let him stay near at hand in a cavern; for
the porter refused to admit him to the castle in the absence of his
lord, though at the same time giving him food and directing him to the
cave. He piped all day and watched all night, and was rewarded by
hearing his lady's voice lamenting within the walls of her prison. On
the second night he caught a glimpse of her beauteous form, fair as the
moonbeams that shone around the tower. On the third night, worn with
watching, he slept, and only awakened as dawn drew nigh. Grasping his
weapon, he stole near to the castle walls, when to his amazement, he saw
his lady descend from her window by a ladder of rope, held for her by a
youth in Highland dress. Stunned at the sight, he could not move to
follow them, till they had left behind them the castle where the lady
had been held captive, and were about to disappear over the hill.
Silently and swiftly then he drew near, and crying furiously, "Vile
traitor! yield that lady up!" fell upon the youth who accompanied her,
who in his turn fought as furiously as he. In a few moments Bertram's
antagonist lay stretched on the ground; and as he gave him the fatal
thrust he cried, "Die, traitor, die!" The lady recognised his voice, and
rushing forward, shrieked, "Stay! stay! it is thy brother." But the
sword of Bertram, already descending with the force of rage and fury in
the blow, could not be stayed until too late. The fair maid's breast was
pierced by the sword of the knight who loved her, and she sank down by
the side of the youth who had delivered her. It was indeed Bertram's
brother, who had succeeded in his search; and the dying maiden found
time to tell of his devotion, in rescuing her from this castle of the
son of a Scottish lord who fain would have made her his bride, before
she, too, lay lifeless by the side of her brave rescuer, leaving her
lover too despairing and desolate to seek safety in flight, so that the
band of searchers from the castle, seeking their prisoner on the hills,
and dreading their lord's wrath on his return, bore him back with them
to the dungeon. Their lord, however, had meantime been taken captive by
Percy (Hotspur), who, as soon as he heard of Bertram's capture, quickly
exchanged the Scottish chief for his friend. Bertram's sorrow lasted for
the rest of his days; he gave away his lands and possessions to the
poor, and retiring to a lovely spot on the banks of the Coquet, where
rocky cliffs overhung the river, he carved out in the living stone a
little cell, dormitory, and chapel, and dwelt there, passing his days in
mourning, meditation, and prayer. In the chapel, with its gracefully
arched roof, he fashioned on an altar-tomb the image of a lady, and at
her feet the figure of a hermit, in the attitude of grief, one hand
supporting his head and the other pressed against his breast, leaning
over and gazing at the lady for ever. The poignant sentence "My tears
have been my meat day and night," is carved over the entrance to the
little chapel. Here, in this beautiful spot, almost under the shadow of
the castle walls belonging to his noble friend, the sorrowing knight,
now a holy hermit, spent the remainder of his life in the little
dwelling he had wrought in the living rock. It remains to-day more
beautiful, if possible, than ever, overhung by a canopy of waving
greenery, and draped with ferns and mosses, their graceful fronds laved
by the rippling Coquet whose gentle murmurings fill the still air with

The next tale takes us to the neighbourhood of Belford, and out upon the
old post road from London to Edinburgh. In the unsettled times of James
the Second's reign, one Sir John Cochrane of Ochiltree was condemned to
death for his part in the rising which was led by the Duke of Argyle.
Powerful friends, heavily bribed by Sir John's father, the Earl of
Dundonald, were working in Sir John's favour, and they had strong hopes
of obtaining a pardon. But meanwhile, Sir John lay in the Tolbooth at
Edinburgh, and the warrant for his execution was already on its way
northward, in the post-bag carried forward by horseman after horseman
throughout the length of the way. Could the arrival of the warrant only
be delayed by some means, his life might be saved. In this strait, his
daughter Grizzel, a girl of eighteen, conceived the desperate idea of
preventing the warrant's reaching its destination. Saying nothing to
anyone of her intentions, she stole away from home, and rode swiftly to
the Border. Following the road for about four miles on the English
side, she arrived at the house of her old nurse; and here she changed
her clothes, persuading the old dame to lend her a suit belonging to her
foster-brother. Making her way southward, she went to the inn at Belford
where the riders carrying the mail usually put up for the night. Here,
the same night, came the postman, and the seeming youth watched
nervously, but determinedly, for an opportunity of finding out whether
the fateful paper was in his bag or not. No slightest chance presented
itself, however, and an attempt to obtain the mail-bag during the night
failed by reason of the fact that the man slept upon it. One thing she
did accomplish, which gave her hope that the encounter for which she was
nerving herself might end successfully for her; she managed, unseen, to
draw the charges from his pistols. Then the courageous girl rode off
through the dark night to select a favourable spot in which to await his
coming. For two or three lonely hours she waited, the thought that she
was fighting for her father's life giving her courage. In the dim light
of the early dawn she heard the sound of his horse's hoofs from where
she stood in the shadow of a clump of trees; and steeling herself for
the part she was to play, and in ignorance of whether he might have
found out that the charges had been withdrawn from his pistols and might
have re-loaded them, she waited until he was almost abreast of her, and
fired at his horse, bringing it down. Before he could extricate himself
she was upon him with drawn sword; but promising to spare his life if he
would let her have the mail-bag, she seized it and darted away. He
attempted to follow to recover his charge, but she reached her horse,
and rode off like the wind. When she reached a place of safety and
examined the contents of the bag, what was her joy to find that the
warrant was there. It was speedily destroyed; and during the time that
elapsed before the news of the loss could be sent to London and another
one made out, the friends of Sir John succeeded in obtaining his pardon.
"Cochrane's bonny Grizzy" lived to a good old age; and "Grizzy's clump"
on the north road near the little village of Buckton keeps green the
memory of her daring exploit.

"Bonny Grizzy" was a Scottish maid, though her gallant if lawless deed
was performed on Northumbrian soil; but there is one Northumbrian maiden
whose fame will live as long as the sea-waves beat on the wild
north-east coast, and as long as men's hearts thrill to a tale of
courage and high resolve. Grace Darling's name still awakens in every
bosom a response to all that is compassionate, courageous, and
unselfish; and the thoughts of all north-country folk bold that
admiration for the gentle girl which has been voiced as no other could
voice it, in the magical words of Swinburne--

"Take, O star of all our seas, from not an alien hand,
Homage paid of song bowed down before thy glory's face,
Thou the living light of all our lovely stormy strand,
Thou the brave north-country's very glory of glories, Grace."

The story of her gallantry has been many times re-told, but never grows
wearisome. The memory of that stormy voyage of the _Forfarshire_, which
ended in disaster on the Harcar rocks in the Farne group, remains in
men's minds as the dark and tragic setting which throws into bright
relief the gallant action of the father and daughter who dared almost
certain death to rescue their fellow-creatures in peril. It was in
September, 1838, that the ill-fated vessel left Hull for Dundee; but a
leak in the boilers caused the fires to be nearly extinguished in the
storm the vessel encountered. It reached St. Abb's Head by the aid of
the sails, but then drifted southward, driven by the storm, and struck
in the early morning, in a dense fog, on the Harcar rocks. Nine of the
people on board managed to escape in a small boat, which was driven in a
miraculous manner through the only safe outlet between the rocks. They
were picked up by a passing boat and taken to Shields. Meanwhile a heavy
sea had crashed down upon the _Forfarshire_, and broken it in half, one
portion, with the greater number of crew and passengers, being swept
away immediately. The remaining portion, the fore part of the vessel,
was firmly fixed upon the rock. Here the shivering survivors clung all
that stormy day, the waves dashing over them continually. The captain
and his wife were washed overboard, clasped in each others' arms; and
two little children, a boy of eight and a girl of eleven years of age,
died from exposure and the relentless buffeting of the waves, their
distracted mother clasping them by the hand long after life was extinct.
To a terrible day succeeded a yet more terrible night.

"Scarce the cliffs of the islets, scarce the walls of Joyous Gard
Flash to sight between the deadlier lightnings of the sea;
Storm is lord and master of a midnight evil-starred,
Nor may sight nor fear discern what evil stars may be."

Until the morning they endured; and in the stormy dawn the keeper of the
Longstone lighthouse, William Darling, and his daughter Grace saw them
huddled in a shivering heap upon the wave-swept fragments of the wreck.
The girl begged her father to try to save them, and to allow her to help
in the task, and after some natural hesitation he consented. The
brave-hearted mother helped them to launch the boat, and they set forth.

[Illustration: The Wreck of the "Forfarshire"]

"Sire and daughter, hand on oar and face against the night.
Maid and man whose names are beacons ever to the north.
...... all the madness of the stormy surf
Hounds and roars them back, but roars and hounds them back in vain.

Not our mother, not Northumberland, brought ever forth.
Though no southern shore may match the sons that kiss her mouth,
Children worthier all the birthright given of the ardent north,
Where the fire of hearts outburns the suns that fire the south."

They reached the rock, where nine persons were still
clinging to the wreck, and

"Life by life the man redeems them, head by storm-worn head,
While the girl's hand stays the boat whereof the waves are fain."

With five of the exhausted survivors the boat returned to the Longstone;
and two of the men went back with William Darling for the other four.
All were safely housed in the lighthouse and tended by the noble family
of the Darlings; but the storm raged for several days longer, and made
it impossible for them to be put ashore. When at length they returned to
their homes, and the story of the rescue was made known, the whole
country was moved by it; and presents of all kinds, money, and offers of
marriage poured in upon Grace, who remained quite unmoved by it all, and
was still the gentle unassuming girl that she had always been. She
refused to leave her home, though she was offered twenty pounds a night
at the Adelphi if she would consent merely to sit in a boat for London
audiences to gaze upon her. Sad to say, she died of consumption about
two years afterwards, after having tried in vain to arrest the course of
her sickness by change of air at Wooler and Alnwick; and she sleeps in
Bamburgh churchyard, within sound of the sea by which she had spent her
short life.

"East and west and south acclaim her queen of England's maids.
Star more sweet than all their stars, and flower than all their flowers."

The actual boat in which the gallant deed was performed was long
preserved at Newton Hall, Stocksfield; but the owners have lately
presented it to the Marine Laboratory at Cullercoats.




The ballads of Northumberland, as all true ballads should do, partake of
the characteristics of the district which is their home. As we should
expect, they treat chiefly of warlike themes, of the chieftain's doughty
deeds, the moss-trooper's daring and skill, of the knight's courtesies
and gallant feats of arms, and the feuds of rival clans; in fact, they
portray for us vividly the time of which they treat, and in a few
graphic touches bring before us the very spirit of the period. In direct
and simple phrases the narrative proceeds, giving with rare power just
the necessary expression to the tale.

These ballads fall naturally into three main divisions. The historical
ballad is at its best in the famous "Chevy-Chase," which has been the
delight of gentle and simple for centuries; and the oft-quoted
declaration of Sir Philip Sidney concerning it still finds an echo in
our own day.

Of the two best known versions of the ballad, the one here given is the
more poetical by far; the other, however, contains the account of the
courage of Hugh Widdrington which has made the gallant squire immortal.

The latter version is as evidently English as the former is Scottish; or
rather, each has grown to its present form as the reciters exercised
their art to please an English or a Scottish audience. In the one
version it is Douglas who takes the offensive, and challenges Percy,
waiting for him at Otterbourne; in the other we are told that

"The stout Erle of Northumberland
A vow to God did make,
His pleasure in the Scottish woods
Three summer days to take."

On the death of Douglas--

"Erle Percy took
The dead man by the hand,
And said, 'Erle Douglas, for thy life
Would I had lost my land!'"

When the battle is over,

"Next day did many widdowes come
Their husbands to bewayle;
Their bodyes bathed in purple blood
They bore with them away;
They kist them dead a thousand times
Ere they were cladd in clay."

It was neither of these versions, however, that so moved the heart of
gallant Sidney, but a much older one, beginning

"The Perse owt off Northomberlande
And a vow to God made he,
That he wold hunt in the mountayns
Off Chyviat within days iii."

Other historical ballads are "The Rising of the North," "The Raid of the
Reidswire," "Flodden Field," "Homildon Hill" and "Hedgeley Moor."

The next division may be termed semi-historical; that is, they treat of
events which actually happened, but which have chiefly a local interest;
and these may therefore be said to be more truly Northumbrian than any
others. Such are "Jock o' the Side," "Johnnie Armstrong," "Hobbie Noble"
and "The Death of Parcy Reed."

Of the third class, the romantic ballads, we have not so rich a store;
yet "The Gay Goss-hawk," the "Nut-browne Mayde" and the touchingly
beautiful "Barthram's Dirge" may stand amongst the best of their kind.

"The Gay Gross-hawk" is one of those delightful and imaginative
productions of which there are so many examples, in which birds and
hounds share their lords' and ladies' secrets, and serve them staunchly
in hours of peril; they belong to the times when fairies were still seen
holding their moonlight revels, when witches exercised their baleful
arts, and fearsome dragons wore still to be met and conquered--"and if
you do not believe it," said Dr. Spence Watson, "I am sorry for you!"

The "Nut-browne Mayde" is supposed to have been a Lady Margaret Percy,
who lived in the reign of Henry VIII.; and the lover to whom she was so
faithful, notwithstanding his trial of her love by declaring that he was
an outlaw, and "must to the greenwood go, alone, a banished man," was
Henry Clifford, son of the Earl of Westmoreland. The inordinate length
of this ballad forbade its inclusion in the present selection; I am
sensible that that selection may appear somewhat meagre, but only want
of space has prevented the inclusion of others that many of my readers
would doubtless have been glad to see.

Of songs in dialect, Joe Wilson's "Aw wish yor Muthor wad cum!" stands
easily first; and the other, "Sair feyl'd, hinny!" is given as an
example of the Northumbrian muse in another mood.

In conclusion, let me say that of the modern verse every example is from
the pen of a Northumbrian.


It fell about the Lammas tide,
When muir-men win their hay,
The doughty Douglas bound him to ride
Into England to drive a prey.

He chose the Gordons and the Graemes,
With them the Lindsays, light and gay;
But the Jardines would not with them ride,
And they rue it to this day.

And he has burned the dales o' Tyne,
And part o' Bamburghshire;
And three good towers on Reidswire fells
He left them all on fire.

And he marched up to New Castel,
And rode it round about;
"O wha's the lord of this castel?
Or wha's the lady o't?"

And up spake proud Lord Percy then,
And O! but he spake hie!
"O I'm the lord of this castel,
My wife's the lady gay."

"If thou art the lord of this castel,
Sae weel it pleases me!
For ere I cross the Border fells,
The tane of us sall die."

He took a lang spere in his hand
Shod wi' the metal free,
And for to meet the Douglas there
He rode right furiouslie!

But oh! how pale his lady looked
Frae off the castle wa',
When down before the Scottish speare
She saw proud Percy fa'!

"Had we twa been upon the green,
And never an eye to see,
I wad hae had you, flesh and fell,
But your sword shall gae wi' me."

"But gae ye up to Otterbourne
And wait there dayis three,
And if I come not ere three dayis end,
A fause knight ca' ye me."

"The Otterbourne's a bonnie burn,
'Tis pleasant there to be;
But there is naught at Otterbourne
To feed my men and me.

"The deer rins wild on hill and dale,
The birds fly wild frae tree to tree,
But there is neither bread nor kale
To feed my men and me.

"Yet I will stay at Otterbourne
Where you sall welcome be;
And if ye come not at three dayis end
A fause lord I'll call thee."

"Thither will I come," proud Percy said,
"By the might of Our Ladye!"
"Thither will I bide thee," said the Douglas,
"My troth I plight to thee."

They lighted high on Otterbourne,
Upon the bent sae brown;
They lighted high on Otterbourne
And threw their pallions down.

And he that had a bonnie boy,
Sent out his horse to grass;
And he that had not a bonnie boy,
His ain servant he was.

And up then spake a little foot-page,
Before the peep o' dawn--
"O waken, waken ye, my good lord,
The Percy is hard at hand!"

"Ye lee, ye lee, ye leear loud!
Sae loud I hear ye lee!
For Percy had not men yestreen
To dight my men and me!"

"But I hae dreamed a dreary dream,
Beyond the Isle of Skye;
I saw a dead man win a fight,
An' I think that man was I."

He belted on his gude braid-sword,
And to the field he ran;
But he forgot his helmet good,
That should have kept his brain.

When Percy wi' the Douglas met
I wat he was fu' fain!
They swakked their swords till sair they swat,
The blude ran down like rain.

But Percy, with his gude braid-sword,
That could sae sharply wound,
Has stricken Douglas on the brow,
Till he fell to the ground.

Then he called on his little foot-page
And said, "Run speedilie,
And fetch my ain dear sister's son,
Sir Hugh Montgomerie."

"My nephew good," the Douglas said,
"What recks the death of ane?
Last night I dreamed a dreary dream,
And I ken the day's thy ain.

"My wound is deep, I fain wad sleep;
Take thou the vanguard of the three,
And hide me by the bracken bush
That grows on yonder lilye lea.

"O bury me by the bracken bush,
Beneath the bloomin' brier;
Let never a living mortal ken
That ever a kindly Scot lies here."

He lifted up that noble lord,
Wi' the saut tear in his e'e;
He hid him in the bracken bush
That his merrie men might not see.

The moon was clear, the day drew near,
The speres in flinders flew,
And mony a gallant Englishman
Ere day the Scotsmen slew.

The Gordons gude, in English blude
They steeped their hose and shoon;
The Lindsays flew like fire about
Till a' the fray was dune.

The Percy and Montgomerie met,
And either of other was fain;
They swakked swords, and sair they swat,
And the blude ran doun like rain.

"Now yield thee, yield thee, Percy!" he cried;
"Or else will I lay thee low."
"To whom sall I yield?" quoth Erle Percy,
"Sin I see it maun be so."

"Thou shalt not yield to lord or loon,
Nor yet shalt thou yield to me,
But thou shalt yield to the bracken bush
That grows on yon lilye lea."

"I will not yield to a bracken bush;
Nor yet will I yield to a brier;
But I would yield to Erle Douglas,
Or Hugh Montgomerie if he were here."

As soon as he knew it was Montgomerie
He stuck his sword's-point in the gronde;
The Montgomerie was a courteous knight,
And quickly took him by the honde.

This deed was done at the Otterbourne,
About the breaking of the day;
Erle Douglas was buried at the bracken bush.
And the Percy led captive away.


Now Liddesdale has ridden a raid,
But I wat they had better hae staid at hame;
For Michael o' Winfield he is dead,
And Jock o' the Side is prisoner ta'en.

For Mangerton house Lady Downie has gane,
Her coats she has kilted up to her knee;
And down the water wi' speed she rins,
While tears in spates fa' fast frae her e'e.

Then up and spoke our guid auld laird--
"What news, what news, sister Downie, to me?"
"Bad news, bad news, for Michael is killed,
And they hae taken my son Johnnie."

"Ne'er fear, sister Downie," quo' Mangerton,
"I have yokes of owsen, twenty and three,
My barns, my byres, and my faulds a' weel filled,
I'll part wi' them a' ere Johnnie shall dee.

"Three men I'll send to set him free,
A' harnessed wi' the best o' steel;
The English loons may hear, and drie
The weight o' their braid-swords to feel.

"The Laird's Jock ane, the Laird's Wat twa,
O Hobbie Noble, thou ane maun be!
Thy coat is blue, thou has been true
Since England banished thee to me."

Now Hobbie was an English man,
In Bewcastle dale was bred and born;
But his misdeeds they were so great,
They banished him ne'er to return.

Laird Mangerton them orders gave,
"Your horses the wrang way maun be shod;
Like gentlemen ye maunna seem,
But look like corn-cadgers ga'en the road.

"Your armour gude ye maunna show,
Nor yet appear like men of weir;
As country lads be a' array'd,
Wi' branks and brecham on each mare."

Sae their horses are the wrang way shod,
And Hobbie has mounted his gray sae fine;
Jock his lively bay, Wat's on his white horse behind.
And on they rode for the water of Tyne.

At the Cholerford they a' light doun,
And there wi' the help o' the light o' the moon,
A tree they cut, wi' fifteen nogs on each side,
To climb up the wa' of Newcastle toun.

But when they cam' to Newcastle toun,
And were alighted at the wa'
They fand their tree three ells ower laigh,
They fand their stick baith short and sma'.

Then up and spak the Laird's ain Jock,
"There's naething for't; the gates we maun force."
But when they cam' the gate untill,
A proud porter withstood baith men and horse.

His neck in twa the Armstrangs wrung;
With fute or hand he ne'er played pa!
His life and his keys at once they hae ta'en,
And cast the body ahint the wa'.

Now sune they reach Newcastle jail,
And to the prisoner thus they call:
"Sleeps thou, or wakes thou, Jock o' the Side,
Or art thou weary of thy thrall?"

Jock answered thus, wi' doleful tone,
"Aft, aft I wake--I seldom sleep;
But wha's this kens my name sae weel,
And thus to ease my wae does seek."

Then out and spake the gude Laird's Jock,
"Now fear ye na', my billie," quo' he;
"For here are the Laird's Jock, the Laird's Wat,
And Hobbie Noble, come to set thee free."

"Now haud thy tongue, my gude Laird's Jock,
For ever, alas! this canna be;
For if a' Liddesdale were here the night,
The morn's the day that I maun dee."

"Full fifteen stane o' Spanish iron
They hae laid a' right sair or me;
Wi' locks and keys I am fast bound
Into this dungeon dark and dreirie!"

"Fear ye nae that," quo' the Laird's Jock;
"A faint heart ne'er won a fair ladie;
Work thou within, we'll work without,
And I'll be sworn we'll set thee free."

The first strong door that they cam' at,
They loosed it without a key;
The next chain'd door that they cam' at
They gar'd it a' to flinders flee.

The prisoner now upon his back
The Laird's Jock has gotten up fu' hie;
And down the stair, him, irons and a',
Wi' nae sma' speid and joy brings he.

"Now Jock, my man," quo Hobbie Noble,
"Some o' his weight ye may lay on me."
"I wat weel no," quo' the Laird's ain Jock;
"I count him lighter than a flee."

Sae out at the gates they a' are gane,
The prisoner's set on horseback hie;
And now wi' speed they're ta'en the gate,
While ilk ane jokes fu' wantonlie.

"O Jock! sae winsomely 's ye ride,
Wi' baith your feet upon ae side;
Sae weel ye're harnessed, and sae trig,
In troth ye sit like ony bride!"

The night, tho' wat, they didna mind,
But hied them on fu' merrilie
Until they cam' to Cholerford brae,
Where the water ran baith deep and hie.

But when they came to Cholerford,
There they met with an auld man,
Says, "Honest man, will the water ride?
Tell us in haste, if that ye can."

"I wat weel no," quo' the gude auld man;
"I hae lived here thirty years and three,
And I ne'er yet saw the Tyne sae big,
Nor running anes sae like a sea."

Then out and spake the Laird's Saft Wat,
The greatest coward in the companie;
"Now halt, now halt, we needna try't,
The day is come we a' maun dee."

"Puir faint-hearted thief!" cried the Laird's ain Jock,
"There'll nae man die but him that's fey;
I'll guide ye a' right safely thro',
Lift ye the prisoner on ahint me."

Wi' that the water they hae ta'en;
By anes and twas they a' swam thro';
"Here we are a' safe," quo' the Laird's Jock,
"And puir faint Wat, what think ye now?"

They scarce the other brae had won
When twenty men they saw pursue;
Frae Newcastle toun they had been sent,
A' English lads baith stout and true.

But when the land-serjeant the water saw,
"It winna ride, my lads," says he;
Then cried aloud--"The prisoner take,
But leave the fetters, I pray, to me."

"I wat weel no," quo' the Laird's Jock;
"I'll keep them a'; shoon to my mare they'll be.
My gude bay mare--for I am sure
She has bought them a' right dear frae thee."

Sae now they are on to Liddesdale,
E'en as fast as they could them hie;
The prisoner is brought to his ain fireside,
And there o' his airns they mak' him free.

"Now, Jock, ma billie," quo' a' the three,
"The day is com'd thou was to dee.
But thou's as weel at thy ain ingle-side,
Now sitting, I think 'twixt thou and me."


They shot him dead at the Nine-stane Rig,
Beside the Headless Cross,
And they left him lying in his blood,
Upon the moor and moss.

They made a bier of the broken bough
The sauch and the aspin grey,
And they bore him to the Lady Chapel,
And waked him there all day.

A lady came to that lonely bower,
And threw her robes aside;
She tore her ling lang yellow hair,
And knelt at Barthram's side.

She bathed him in the Lady-Well,
His wounds sae deep and sair;
And she plaited a garland for his breast,
And a garland for his hair.

They rowed him in a lily sheet
And bare him to his earth;
And the Grey Friars sung the dead man's mass
As they passed the Chapel garth.

They buried him at the mirk midnight,
When the dew fell cold and still,
When the aspin grey forgot to play,
And the mist clung to the hill.

They dug his grave but a bare foot deep,
By the edge of the Nine-stane Burn,
And they covered him o'er with the heather-flower,
The moss and the lady-fern.

A Grey Friar staid upon the grave,
And sang till the morning tide;
And a friar shall sing for Barthram's soul
While the Headless Cross shall bide.


It was a knight in Scotland born,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
Was taken pris'ner and left forlorn,
Even by the good Earl of Northumberland.

Then was he cast in prison strong,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
Where he could not walk nor lie along,
Even by the good Earl of Northumberland.

And as in sorrow thus he lay,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
The Earl's sweet daughter passed that way,
And she the fair flower of Northumberland.

And passing by, like an angel bright,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
The prisoner had of her a sight,
And she the fair flower of Northumberland.

And aloud to her this knight did cry,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
The salt tears standing in her eye,
And she the fair flower of Northumberland.

"Fair lady," he said, "take pity on me,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
And let me not in prison dee,
And you the fair flower of Northumberland."

"Fair sir, how should I take pity on thee,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
Thou being a foe to our countrie,
And I the fair flower of Northumberland?"

"Fair lady, I am no foe," he said,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
"Through thy sweet love here was I stayed,
And thou the fair flower of Northumberland."

"Why shouldst thou come here for love of me,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
Having wife and bairns in thy own countrie,
And I the fair flower of Northumberland?"

"I swear by the Blessed Trinity,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
That neither wife nor bairns have I,
And thou the fair flower of Northumberland."

"If courteously thou wilt set me free,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
I vow that I will marry thee,
And thou the fair flower of Northumberland.

"Thou shalt be lady of castles and towers,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
And sit like a queen in princely bowers,
Even thou the fair flower of Northumberland."

Then parted hence this lady gay,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
And got her father's ring away,
And she the fair flower of Northumberland.

Likewise much gold got she by sleight,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
And all to help this forlorn knight,
And she the fair flower of Northumberland.

Two gallant steeds both good and able,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand),
She likewise took out of the stable,
And she the fair flower of Northumberland.

And to the goaler she sent the ring,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
Who the knight from prison forth did bring,
To meet the fair flower of Northumberland.

This token set the prisoner free,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
Who straight went to this fair ladye,
And she the fair flower of Northumberland.

A gallant steed he did bestride,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
And with the lady away did ride,
And she the fair flower of Northumberland.

They rode till they came to a water clear,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
"Good sir, how shall I follow you here,
And I the fair flower of Northumberland?

"The water is rough and wonderful deep,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
And on my saddle I shall not keep,
And I the fair flower of Northumberland?

"Fear not the ford, fair lady," quoth he,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
"For long I cannot stay for thee,
Even thou the fair flower of Northumberland."

The lady prickt her gallant steed,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
And over the water swam with speed,
Even she the fair flower of Northumberland.

From top to toe all wet was she,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
"This have I done for love of thee,
Even I the fair flower of Northumberland."

Thus rode she all one winter's night.
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
Till Edenborough they saw in sight,
The fairest town in all Scotland.

"Now I have a wife and children five,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
In Edenborough they be alive,
And thou the fair flower of Northumberland.

"And if thou wilt not give thy hand,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
Then get thee home to fair England,
And thou the fair flower of Northumberland

"This favour thou shalt have, to boot,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
I'll have thy horse; go thou on foot,
Even thou the fair flower of Northumberland."

"O false and faithless knight," quoth she;
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
"And canst thou deal so bad with me,
Even I the fair flower of Northumberland?"

He took her from her stately steed,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
And left her there in extreme need,
And she the fair flower of Northumberland.

Then she sat down full heavily,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
At length two knights came riding by,
And she the fair flower of Northumberland.

Two gallant knights of fair England,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
And there they found her on the strand,
Even she the fair flower of Northumberland.

She fell down humbly on her knee,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
Crying, "Courteous knights, take pity on me,
Even I the fair flower of Northumberland.

"I have offended my father dear,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
For a false knight that brought me here,
Even I the fair flower of Northumberland."

They took her up beside them then,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
And brought her to her father again,
And she the fair flower of Northumberland.

Now all you fair maids, be warned by me,
(Follow, my love, come over the strand)
Scots never were true, nor ever will be,
To lord, nor lady, nor fair England.


Are you going to Whittingham Fair
(Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme),
Remember me to one that lives there,
For once she was a true lover of mine.

Tell her to make me a cambric shirt,
(Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme),
Without any seam or needlework,
Then she shall be a true lover of mine.

Tell her to wash it in yonder well,
(Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme),
Where never spring water or rain ever fell,
And she shall be a true lover of mine.

Tell her to dry it on yonder thorn,
(Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme),
Which never bore blossom since Adam was born.
Then she shall be a true lover of mine.

Now he has asked me questions three,
(Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme),
I hope he'll answer as many for me,
Before he shall be a true lover of mine.

Tell him to buy me an acre of land,
(Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme),
Betwixt the salt water and the sea sand,
Then he shall be a true lover of mine.

Tell him to plough it with a ram's horn.
(Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme),
And sow it all over with one pepper corn.
And he shall be a true lover of mine.

Tell him to shear't with a sickle of leather,
(Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme),
And bind it up with a peacock feather,
And he shall be a true lover of mine.

Tell him to thrash it on yonder wall,
(Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme),
And never let one corn of it fall,
Then he shall be a true lover of mine.

When he has done and finished his work,
(Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme),
O tell him to come and he'll have his shirt,
And he shall be a true lover of mine.


A North country mayde up to London had strayed,
Although with her nature it did not agree.
Which made her repent, and often lament,
Still wishing again in the North for to be.
"O the Oak and the Ash and the bonny Ivy tree,
They are all growing green in my North Countrie!"

"O fain wad I be in the North Countrie
Where the lads and the lasses are all making hay;
O there wad I see what is pleasant to me,--
A mischief 'light on them enticed me away!
O the Oak and the Ash and the bonny Ivy tree,
They are all growing green in my North Countrie!"

"Then farewell my father, and farewell my mother,
Until I do see you I nothing but mourn;
Remembering my brothers, my sisters, and others--
In less than a year I hope to return.
O the Oak and the Ash and the bonny Ivy tree.
They are all growing green in my North Countrie!"


"Sair feyl'd, hinny!
Sair feyl'd now,
Sair feyl'd, hinny,
Sin' aw ken'd thou.
Aw was young and lusty,
Aw was fair and clear;
Aw was young and lusty
Mony a lang year.
Sair feyl'd, hinny!
Sair feyl'd now;
Sair feyl'd, hinny,
Sin' aw ken'd thou.

"When aw was young and lusty
Aw cud lowp u dyke;
But now aw'm aud and still.
Aw can hardly stop a syke.
Sair feyl'd, hinny!
Sair feyl'd now,
Sair feyl'd hinny,
Sin' aw ken'd thou.

"When aw was five and twenty
Aw was brave an bauld.
Now at five an' sixty
Aw'm byeth stiff an' cauld.
Sair feyl'd, hinny!
Sair feyl'd now.
Sair feyl'd, hinny,
Sin' aw ken'd thou"

Thus said the aud man
To the oak tree;
"Sair feyl'd is aw
Sin' aw kenn'd thee!
Sair feyl'd, hinny!
Sair feyl'd now;
Sair feyl'd, hinny,
Sin' aw ken'd thou."


"Cum, Geordy, haud the bairn,
Aw's sure aw'll not stop lang,
Aw'd tyek the jewl me-sel,
But really aw's not strang.
Thor's flooer and coals te get,
The hoose-torns thor not deun,
So haud the bairn for fairs,
Ye're often deun'd for fun!"

Then Geordy held the bairn,
But sair agyen his will,
The poor bit thing wes gud,
But Geordy had ne skill,
He haddint its muther's ways,
He sat both stiff an' num,--
Before five minutes wes past
He wished its muther wad cum!

His wife had scarcely gyen,
The bairn begun te squall,
Wi' hikin't up an' doon
He'd let the poor thing fall,
It waddent haud its tung,
Tho' sum aud teun he'd hum,--
'Jack an' Gill went up a hill'--
"Aw wish yor muther wad cum!"

"What weary toil," says he,
"This nursin bairns mun be,
A bit on't's weel eneuf,
Ay, quite eneuf for me;
Te keep a crying bairn,
It may be grand te sum,
A day's wark's not as bad--
Aw wish yor muther wad cum.

"Men seldom give a thowt
Te what thor wives indure,
Aw thowt she'd nowt te de
But clean the hoose, aw's sure.
Or myek me dinner an' tea--
It's startin' te chow its thumb,
The poor thing wants its tit,
Aw wish yor muther wad cum."

'What a selfish world this is,
Thor's nowt mair se than man;
He laffs at wummin's toil,
And winnet nurse his awn;--
It's startin' te cry agyen,
Aw see tuts throo its gum,
Maw little bit pet, dinnet fret,--
Aw wish yor muther wad cum.

"But kindness dis a vast.
It's ne use gettin' vext.
It winnet please the bairn,
Or ease a mind perplext.
At last--its gyen te sleep,
Me wife'll not say aw's num,
She'll think aw's a real gud norse,
Aw wish yor muther wud cum!"

_Joe Wilson_


The morn is grey, and green the brae, the wind is frae the wast
Before the gale the snaw-white clouds are drivin' light and fast;
The airly sun is glintin' forth, owre hill, and dell, and plain,
And Coquet's streams are glitterin', as they run frae muir to main.

At Dewshill wood the mavis sings beside her birken nest,
At Halystane the laverock springs upon his breezy quest;
Wi' eydent e'e, aboon the craigs, the gled is high in air,
Beneath brent Brinkburn's shadowed cliff the fox lies in his lair.

There's joy at merry Thristlehaugh tie new-mown hay to win;
The busy bees at Todstead-shaw are bringing honey in;
The trouts they loup in ilka stream, the birds on ilka tree;
Auld Coquet-side is Coquet still--but there's nae place for me!

My sun is set, my eyne are wet, cauld poortith now is mine;
Nae mair I'll range by Coquet-side and thraw the gleesome line;
Nae mair I'll see her bonnie stream in spring-bright raiment drest,
Save in the dream that stirs the heart when the weary e'e's at rest.

Oh! were my limbs as ance they were, to jink across the green.
And were my heart as light again as sometime it has been,
And could my fortunes blink again as erst when youth was sweet,
Then Coquet--hap what might beside--we'd no be lang to meet'

Or had I but the cushat's wing, where'er I list to flee,
And wi' a wish, might wend my way owre hill, and dale, and lea.
'Tis there I'd fauld that weary wing, there gaze my latest gaze.
Content to see thee ance again--then sleep beside thy braes!

--_Thomas Doublerday_.


Go, take thine angle, and with practised line.
Light as the gossamer, the current sweep;
And if thou failest in the calm, still deep,
In the rough eddy may a prize be thine.
Say thou'rt unlucky where the sunbeams shine;
Beneath the shadow, where the waters creep
Perchance the monarch of the brook shall leap--
For fate is ever better than design.

Still persevere; the giddiest breeze that blows,
For thee may blow with fame and fortune rife.
Be prosperous; and what reck if it arose
Out of some pebble with the stream at strife,
Or that the light wind dallied with the boughs?
Thou art successful.--Such is human life!

--_Thomas Doubleday_.


"And so sir Launcelot brought sir Tristan and La Beate Isoud unto
Joyous-gard, the which was his owne castle that hee had wonne with his
owne hands."--_Malory_.

"Bamburgh ... the great rock-fortress that was known to the Celts as
Dinguardi, and was to figure in Arthurian romance as Joyous Garde ...
"--_C.J. Bates_ (History of Northumberland).

I wandered under winter stars
The lone Northumbrian shore;
And night lay deep in silence on the sea.
Save where, unceasingly,
Among the pillared scaurs
Of perilous Farnes, wild waves for ever more
Breaking in foam,
Sounded as some far strife through the star-haunted gloam.

Before me, looming through the night,
Darker than night's sad heart,
King Ida's castle on the sheer crag set
Waked darker sorrow yet
Within me for the light,
Beauty, and might of old loves rent apart,
Time-broken, spent,
And strewn as old dead winds among the salt-sea bent.

Till, dreaming of the glittering days,
And eves with beauty starred,
Time fell from me as some night-cloud withdrawn,
And in enchanted dawn,
All in a golden haze,
I saw the gleaming towers of Joyous Garde
In splendour rise,
Tall, pinnacled, and white to my dream-laden eyes.

While thither, as in days of old,
Launcelot homeward came,
War-wearied, and yet wearier of the strife
Of love that tore his life;

Burning, beneath the cold
Armour of steel, a never-dying flame:
The fierce desire
Consuming honour's gold on the heart's altar fire!

And thither in great love he brought
The fugitives of love,
Isoud and Tristram fleeing from King Mark.
One day 'twixt dark and dark
These lovers, by fate caught
In love's bright web, dreamed with blue skies above
Of love no tide
Of wavering life may part, or death's swift sea divide.

But Launcelot, in their bliss forlorn,
Fled from the laughter clear
Of happy lovers, and love's silent noon;
All night beneath the moon
He strode, his spirit torn
For Guenevere! All night on Guenevere
He cried aloud
Unto the moonlit foam and every windy cloud.

* * * * *

Then faded, quivering, from my sight
The memory-woven dream.
The towers of Joyous Garde shall never more
Lighten that desolate shore;
No longe'r through the night
Wrestling with love, beneath the pale moon gleam
That anguished form!--
But keen with snow and wind, and loud with gathering storm.

_--Wilfrid W. Gibson_.

(In "The Northern Counties Magazine," March, 1901).


O though here fair blows the rose, and the woodbine waves on high,
And oak, and elm, and bracken fronds enrich the rolling lea,
And winds, as if in Arcady, breathe joy as they go by,
Yet I yearn and I pine for my North Countrie!

I leave the drowsing South, and in thought I northward fly,
And walk the stretching moors that fringe the ever-calling sea,
And am gladdened as the gales that are so bitter-sweet rush by.
While grey clouds sweetly darken o'er my North Countrie.

For there's music in the storms, and there's colour in the shades,
And joy e'en in the grief so widely brooding o'er the sea;
And larger thoughts have birth amid the moors and lonely glades
And reedy mounds and sands of my North Countrie!

--_Thomas Runciman_.


[Illustration: Sketch Map Of Northumberland.]


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